Can You Pass Hsv To Someone Else Even If You Dont Have A Cold Sore
ThereÃ¢s a common misconception that you can only get herpes from someone if you have contact with them when they have a herpes blister. Recent research has actually found that the virus can be transmitted between blisterings, which makes sense for how people who never experience symptoms can be passing it along. So yes, you can transmit cold sores to someone else if you donÃ¢t have an active cold sore, even if you havenÃ¢t felt a tingle. Unfortunately, it is a risk.
Symptoms Of Genital Herpes
Many people who have genital herpes are unaware that they have the virus because they have no symptoms, mild symptoms, or mistake the symptoms for other conditions such as jock itch, yeast infections, razor burn or allergic reactions to detergents. The infection can be diagnosed by taking a swab from the sores or through blood tests. Those with symptoms may experience a tingling sensation or itching in the genital area within a few days of having sex with an infected person. A cluster of blisters may appear and burst, leaving painful sores often lasting two to three weeks. A fever, headache and muscular pain may occur during the first attack.
After the sores from the first attack heal, the virus goes into a dormant stage, but recurrent outbreaks can occur. Some people have only one or two recurrences in a lifetime, while others have them frequently. Recurrences are typically shorter in duration and less severe than the first episode. Stress, menstrual cycle, illness, fever, surgery, exposure to sun, having sex, pregnancy, and the use of some medications can play a role in the frequency and severity of outbreaks. Herpes can continue to be transmitted to others, even between recurrences when the infected person has no symptoms.
Women’s symptoms can include:
- tender lumps in the groin
Men’s symptoms can include:
- tender lumps in the groin
For both men and women, the sores will usually occur on or near the area where the virus was transmitted.
How Does Genital Herpes Spread
The herpes virus that causes genital herpes spreads through saliva, semen and vaginal secretions. Its possible to get genital herpes from someone who doesnt have visible symptoms. You can have the infection, not know it and infect someone else.
Research has found it is possible for genital herpes to spread through:
- Oral sex with someone whos infected.
- Skin-to-skin contact without ejaculation.
- Touching open sores, including while breastfeeding.
- Childbirth by a mother who has an active infection.
You cant get genital herpes from objects like toilet seats. But you could pass genital herpes through shared sex toys.
Two common beliefs stem from the same misconception about getting herpes. The first is believing that your partner lied to you about having herpes because youâve had your first outbreak, so you must have gotten it from them. The second is that your partner must have cheated on you since you have just been diagnosed with genital herpes.
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The Health Risks Of Genital Herpes
Pain and discomfort are the main health effects of genital herpes, but the virus can also cause emotional and social problems for those infected. Although it cannot be cured, genital herpes can be managed with antiviral medication that may help control the recurrences. On rare occasions, genital herpes may cause serious complications such as blindness and inflammation of the brain.
Genital herpes can sometimes be passed from an infected mother to her child during pregnancy or birth. The infection can be life-threatening to the child or result in skin lesions or brain damage. Antiviral medication and a cesarean delivery can reduce the risk of infecting the child.
What Can I Do If I Have Herpes Simplex 2
Many people who find out they have herpes feel depressed knowing they’ll always have the virus and can give it to others. But you arent alone. Herpes is one of the most common STIs, both in the U.S. and worldwide. If you have herpes, you should:
- Learn all you can about it. Information will help you to manage your disease and feel better about yourself.
- Talk about your illness with your doctor.
If you have herpes, you can still:
- Have sex if you use a condom or dental dam , and you tell your partner about your illness. Some couples, who have sexual relations only with each other, may choose not to use condoms even though one partner has herpes. Because each situation is different, you should ask your doctor if this is the right choice for you in your relationship.
- Have children. People with herpes can still give birth to healthy babies. If you have herpes and plan to have children, discuss your illness with your healthcare provider.
If you have herpes, you should also get checked for HIV and other STIs .
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Can Herpes Be Prevented Or Avoided
The best way to prevent getting herpes is to not have sex with anyone who has the virus. It can be spread even when the person who has it isnt showing any symptoms. If your partner has herpes, there is no way of knowing for sure that you wont get it.
There is no time that is completely safe to have sex and not spread herpes. If you have herpes, you must tell your sex partner. You should avoid having sex if you have any sores. Herpes can spread from one person to another very easily when sores are present.
You should use condoms every time you have sex. They can help reduce the risk of spreading herpes. But its still possible to spread or get herpes if youre using a condom.
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How Do People Get Genital Herpes
Infections are transmitted through contact with HSV in herpes lesions, mucosal surfaces, genital secretions, or oral secretions. 5 HSV-1 and HSV-2 can be shed from normal-appearing oral or genital mucosa or skin. 7,8 Generally, a person can only get HSV-2 infection during genital contact with someone who has a genital HSV-2 infection. However, receiving oral sex from a person with an oral HSV-1 infection can result in getting a genital HSV-1 infection. 4 Transmission commonly occurs from contact with an infected partner who does not have visible lesions and who may not know that he or she is infected. 7 In persons with asymptomatic HSV-2 infections, genital HSV shedding occurs on 10.2% of days, compared to 20.1% of days among those with symptomatic infections. 8
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Doctors Dont Advise Getting A Blood Test For Herpes Without Any Symptoms
Hilda Hutcherson, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, is one of those doctors. âI usually dont do tests for herpes someone has a lesion or a sore, something I can see, I will do a swab and take it to a culture or check the DNA on the materials I removed,â she says. âIf theres nothing there and I do a blood test and the blood test comes back positive, lets say its positive for type 1, what does that really mean? Most people are positive for type 1.â She adds that someone could be HSV-1-positive and either have or not have genital herpes. The result âdoesnt mean much, and it makes people go crazy.â
Hutchersonâs motto is pretty simple: Why stress yourself over something if you havenât seen anything especially when itâs something as common as herpes? âLetâs say they have a blood test come in positive but theyve never had a lesion. Now what? You may never get a lesion,â she says. Itâs for this reason that she recommends people do not get tested for herpes unless they have a visible lesion that can be cultured and sent to a lab. Letâs say you get tested anyway and it comes back positive, despite the fact that you have no symptoms. What do you do?
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Herpes Medication: Treatment And Drug Information
Herpes is a common, lifelong viral infection that affects nearly half of American adults under the age of 50.
Most infected individuals do not develop herpes symptoms at all, but for some people, herpes infections can cause painful sores, blisters, or lesions, often on the mouth or genitals.
People who carry the herpes virus can spread it to others through close, direct, and intimate contact.
In this article, Ill review the medications that doctors use to treat both oral and genital herpes.
These include the oral antiviral medications acyclovir , valacyclovir , and famciclovir .
Ill discuss how long it typically takes for these treatments to work, as well as the various dosages available with these treatments.
Ill examine the different kinds of herpes strains and look at the major side effects of herpes medications.
Finally, Ill discuss when to see a doctor if you think you may be experiencing a herpes breakout. .
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Will I Need A C
Once you go into labor, well carefully examine you for genital lesions. If we see something suspicious, we will recommend a C-section.
If you have no symptoms and no sores in the genital region, a vaginal delivery may be safe. Lesions can sometimes appear in other areas, such as the legs or back. If this is the case, well cover them to make sure the baby doesnt come into contact with them.
Drug Treatment For Genital Herpes
If you are infected with genital herpes, your doctor may prescribe oral antiviral drugs to help ease your symptoms during both a first episode and recurrent episodes. Your doctor may also suggest taking antiviral drugs daily as a suppressive therapy to reduce symptoms and protect partners.
Remember, though, that antiviral drugs do not wipe out the virus completely. It continues to live in your body, so if you stop taking the drugs that suppress it, you may have more frequent or more intense symptom outbreaks, and the risk of your transmitting the virus to others rises.
Three antiviral drugs, all taken by mouth, are used to treat genital herpes:
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Is It Bad To Take A Suppression Medication Every Day
While oral herpes isnÃ¢t curable, if you take suppression medications daily, it can suppress your HSV. That means that itâs very likely you wonât get any more sores, or at least not nearly as many or as often. Second, suppression medication can also help prevent the spread of your herpes to your partners. Research has found that if you take these antiviral drugs daily, they can reduce transmission . Usually your doctor will only prescribe this if youÃ¢ve had a certain number of outbreaks in a short amount of time, but you can also talk to her if youÃ¢re particularly worried about passing your HSV along.
No medicine comes without its downsides. For instance, ValtrexÃ¢s possible side effects include headaches, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, depression, pain in your stomach, joints, or uterus, and rash. Just because these side effects have been identified doesnÃ¢t mean youÃ¢ll get them, but you might so they are good to know about. ItÃ¢s also possible for you to develop a tolerance to the available drugs over time, although this seems to be very rare.
How Big Is The Risk Of Infection
The likelihood of being infected with genital herpes during sex depends on many factors, including how often you have sex, whether and how frequently you use condoms, and how long your partner has already been infected. Someone who has had the virus for a long time is less contagious than someone who has just been infected. In general, women have a higher risk of becoming infected than men. Having other sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV also increases the risk of transmission.
In studies with couples where one partner had genital herpes, the other partner became infected within one year in 5 to 10% of the couples. The people in these studies only rarely used condoms, though and if they did, it was mostly during an outbreak. One of these studies showed that infection occurred in an estimated 1 out of 1,000 sexual acts.
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People Can Spread Herpes Easily Even When Free Of Symptoms
Herpes simplex virus can spread even when symptoms are absent. Fred Murphy and Sylvia Whitfield/CDChide caption
Herpes simplex virus can spread even when symptoms are absent.
Warning: This post is going to be a little icky. There will be talk of genital herpes and shedding of viruses that can infect sexual partners. Stop now, if thats not your cup of tea.
For the rest of you, on with the post.
Researchers at the University of Washington have found just how easily people infected with herpes simplex type 2 virus, which causes genital herpes, can unknowingly pass it on to other people.
This isnt trivial. The HSV-2 virus is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in the world. In the U.S., 16 percent of adults test positive for HSV-2 infection.
Only a minority of them about 10 percent to 25 percent show outward signs of infection. And most people get infected with HSV-2 from people who dont have a clinical history of genital herpes, as the just published online by JAMA delicately put it.
So somebody doesnt have to have oozing sores to pass the virus along.
The University of Washington researchers gathered some detailed information on that. They found 410 people with symptomatic genital herpes and 88 who tested positive for infection but showed no signs of it. Each person used a swab to collect genital secretions each day. They also kept a diary of symptoms.
The authors conclude:
What Does Genital Herpes Look Like
While some people with genital herpes will never have any symptoms, other people can develop symptoms within a few weeks of being infected.
Often, before the lesions appear, patients describe a prodrome, characterized by a tingling or burning sensation in the area where the lesions will develop that can be noticed during urination, along with itching or discomfort in the genital area.
You can also have the following symptoms:
- Blisters on the mouth or lips
- Fever, headache or pain in the joints
- Trouble urinating
The symptoms of genital herpes often go away and come back as recurring outbreaks. For most people, the first outbreak is the worst, and can last from two to three weeks. Future flare-ups are often less severe and do not last as long. Still, some people shed the virus regularly. The following triggers can make outbreaks more likely to occur:
- Viral or bacterial infections
- Menstrual periods
Recurrent genital herpes is most common in the first year after the initial infection and decreases as time goes on.
In many cases, anti-herpes medicine can help patients. When a person experiences a prodrome and suspects a recurrence is going to happen, they begin taking anti-herpes medications that lessen symptoms and shorten the time of the outbreak.
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About Herpes Suppressive Therapy
If you opt for suppressive therapy, one of the most common antiviral medications is Valtrex, or valacyclovir. Another commonly prescribed medication goes by the name of Zovirax, or acyclovir. Valacyclovir and acyclovir can be considered close cousins as they are chemically similar.
Read on for the details about how effective suppressive therapy is and how it can affect transmission rates. Well also go over dosing and side effects of this medication. Note: This isnt a substitute for medical advice. You should always consult your doctor to determine whats right for your health.
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What Are The Complications Of Herpes Infections
Complications caused by the herpes virus are mostly seen in patients having weak immune systems. Cancer is the most serious complication of herpes infection. It takes years to develop cancer after the herpes infection and is associated with only certain strains of herpes virus. It is important to get regular screening tests for cancer prevention .
Other complications of Herpes infections are-
- Rectal inflammation. This happens more often in males.
- Meningitis , in rare cases where the viral infection spreads to brain and spinal fluid.
- Urinary tract infections
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Do They Test For Herpes When Youre Pregnant
In general, herpes testing is not recommended during pregnancy. However, there is an exception for people with symptoms.
If you have symptoms of herpes during pregnancy, your doctor will likely recommend testing. Thats particularly true if you have never had symptoms in the past.
Herpes Doctor Discussion Guide
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Herpes Medication And Treatments Available
There is currently no cure or vaccine for either HSV-1 or HSV-2.
However, if you are diagnosed with herpes, your doctor may prescribe you certain kinds of treatments and medications during an outbreak or to suppress the virus.
One area where medications can help is pain management.
For genital herpes outbreaks, doctors may recommend prescription-strength pain creams with ingredients like benzocaine or lidocaine.
These can help to reduce discomfort caused by especially inflamed, or acute, herpes lesions.
For oral herpes outbreaks caused by HSV-1 infections, your doctor might similarly prescribe topical creams containing painkilling ingredients like benzocaine .
Over-the-counter pain treatments can also help with milder oral herpes outbreaks.
These include NSAIDS like ibuprofen , as well lower-strength gel formulations with numbing ingredients like benzocaine .
None of these numbing or painkilling options work to actually speed up or heal the herpes outbreak, however.
They may reduce discomfort, but they do not lessen the time it takes a herpes outbreak to move from emerging, to active, to dormant. For that, doctors turn to antiviral treatments.
Antiviral medications can both speed up the rate of healing, as well as reduce the severity of outbreaks.
For genital herpes, when taken as suppressive therapy, antiviral medications can also reduce the frequency of outbreaks.
Acyclovir creams can also be used to treat genital herpes.
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